ACE Evaluation Network Member Highlight: Tanisha Tate Woodson
With 118+ Evaluators and growing in the Network, we are highlighting an ACE Evaluation Network Member each month to share their experiences and current projects with the ETB® community.
Advancing Culturally-responsive and Equitable (ACE) Evaluation Network Member Tanisha Tate Woodson, PhD is an evaluator and social scientist with more than 15 years of experience developing, implementing, and managing collaborative projects on a wide range of social issues such as early childhood education, child welfare, health disparities, behavioral health, and youth development. She is passionate about helping mission-driven organizations solve problems and make data-driven decisions such as setting or reforming policy, facilitating change, addressing disparities, monitoring programs toward goals, and evaluating program performance and satisfaction. Dr. Woodson enjoys collaborating with clients and stakeholders to discern central lines of research inquiry and to design study elements and measurement approaches that balance the scientific rigor with field-based practicality. She also values working in partnership with clients to develop evaluation plans, methods, and recommendations for program improvement. Overall, Dr. Woodson aspires to bridge the gap between science and social service by making evaluation research meaningful and accessible to social service systems and organizations. Dr. Woodson earned her doctorate at Case Western Reserve University in Social Welfare and her master in Public Health Policy from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
What first attracted you to the ACE Evaluation Network?
I first learned about the ACE Evaluation Network after becoming a Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity (LEEAD) Scholar (Cohort 3). I joined LEEAD in 2019 when I was at a point in my career where I was seeking to be part of a community of intellectuals who valued using research and data as evidence for systems improvement. After joining and culminating from the program, I continued to seek opportunities to further my network. I was excited to learn that there was a larger community of evaluators who were using culturally responsive and equitable evaluation (CREE) principles in their work. I was eager to join and become a member because I wanted to be in a community with other researchers who valued making research and evaluation relevant, useful, and equity-driven. I enjoy the Coffee Break chats, workshops, and other events that provide opportunities for us to network, get to know each other, and share knowledge as we collectively work toward advancing the field of evaluation.
What do you value most about the ACE Evaluation Network?
Within the ACE Evaluation Network, there are plenty of opportunities to be in community with other evaluators and practitioners who value centering the voices of the most historically marginalized populations. I value being able to hold space with other evaluators and to learn from one another. As an emerging evaluator entrepreneur, I cherish the opportunities when I am able to learn from others and collaborate on projects that align with our passions.
What’s a current project you are working on?
Oh geez. I am working on quite a few projects right now. In general, my portfolio centers of improving the health and education outcomes for Black and African American communities and training other professionals on ways to incorporate CREE principles into their work. I will share two fun projects that I am working on right now:
- Developing the curriculum and teaching the LEEAD Cohort 5 Scholars. I’m enjoying the opportunity to support other scholars in their journey of centering culture and equity into their evaluation practice.
- I’m also working closely with a youth-serving organization, REAP Inc., and a team of behavioral health practitioners to develop a culturally responsive suicide prevention curriculum using input from Black, African American, and Latinx youth in Portland, Oregon. Using photo journaling and community listening circles, we plan to develop a curriculum that’s informed by youth to train practitioners on how to support youth experiencing a mental health crisis.
To learn more about Tanisha, view her Evaluator Database profile.